How I see Social Media

    Ever since the introduction of internet in Bhutan in the year 1999 with the first internet provider DrukNet, Bhutan unlike other countries has seen tremendous advancement in the frequency the internet is being used by the people. This tiny thread has brought everything before us. It brought the world closer. With the internet, people felt that we live next door to  mighty America. Thimphu became the first place to have internet access and slowly the access reached Phuntsholing and Trashigang as well. 

     There used to be days when our grandparents felt that it was some kind of magic that we could see what's happening in the other part of the world. And even to this day, their admiration for the network is so unimaginable. Video calling is one thing that shock them, while it is but a very normal thing for the youngsters. This shows the advancement internet has made so far. And who do not know what internet is today? And very soon, this could be the first word that the newborn might speak out, and it wouldn't be any wonder still, because internet has become a part of our life. 

     And with it has made the social media one of the most talked subject of the era. It has become a talk of all levels - public, kids, teens, elite, educated, politics, irrespective of gender and status, social media, Facebook in particular has become one thing that a person can't live without. Facebook was launched on February 4, 2004, initially founded in 2003 on October 28 by Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommates and fellow Havard University student Eduardo Saverin. And initially, it was limited just to the Havard University. But now it has become one of the biggest website in the world. 

     It is still not clear about how Facebook came into this small landlocked kingdom, but today almost every Bhutanese people has a great relationship with this social networking site. And it becomes a very confident statement that whoever has internet access, they own at least one Facebook account. It doesn't really matter where they stay and who they are, but Facebook has become a biggest change in everyone's life today. Office goers, the first thing they do upon reaching their office is 'open Facebook'. Be it students, they keep themselves busy with Facebook on their phones. It is the same case with the housewives, excepting the illiterate ones and of course the old people. They have the least idea about what Facebook is, but they still are active on other sites. Wechat is one popular app used by all ranges of people. Now considering the age and the innocent nature of kids, they deserved a well nurturing time with their parents and sibling, but they too have found out a way to be together with - Facebook.  And the recent fashion has it that politicians also manage their own official Facebook account/page. Figuratively, the trend has been very encouraging, considering the fact that almost everyone is very much active on social media, particularly on Facebook and Wechat.

     Social media has been very helpful in disseminating the news and information. It has become the fastest way of sharing and gathering information. Bhutanese people don't have to worry about not knowing anything all because they are active on Facebook and Wechat. While lot some use Facebook and Wechat in the most efficient and positive way, there are also people who tend to misuse it. And at times, it has become very risky to share information on Facebook. While we believe that we use it in the most friendly way and to the fullest, we somehow tend to neglect the norms and breach the terms knowingly or unknowingly. This has been one lesson our concern authorities have been trying to convince people to use social media in the right manner.

      The recent time has been a lot of hassle and some even made it up on the national headlines.  Lots of accusations, cases and fightback, Facebook overflowed with just one talk - Justice. While in the past there has been so many cases of social media being misused, the recent defamation case put up by a business man against an Independent journalist will be remembered by all. Use of wechat also made it to the National Headlines for unlawful sharing of sensual videos. Few who were caught were also punished according to the terms of the Penal Code of Bhutan. The necessary actions taken by the concerned authority somehow brought an end to the wild influences people were upto. While people did it for fun, they were unaware of the fact that they were committing crime by sharing sensual videos. Well, people were at least made aware of such Law that forbids the act.  A defamation case for sharing a story by an independent journalist invited public uproar. Nation was informed about it. There wasn't a soul who wasn't informed about the case. Almost all the people who heard about the case stood by her, and supported her because all of them have just one thing on their lips - people's right to information and freedom of speech, opinion and expression which is stated clear in Article 7 of the Bhutanese Constitution.

      From this we can deduce how powerful and fast social media can be. And I believe there might be a time when everything is done through social media. If used in the right manner, social media can be an ocean of knowledge, but misusing it will let us drown in its depth. 


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